Jennifer SdunzikFeb 9, 2024
The Geography of Hate
The Great Migration through Small-Town America
University of Illinois Press 2023
During the Great Migration, Black Americans sought new lives in midwestern small towns only to confront the pervasive efforts of white residents determined to maintain their area’s preferred cultural and racial identity. Jennifer Sdunzik explores this widespread phenomenon by examining how it played out in one midwestern community. Sdunzik merges state and communal histories, interviews and analyses of population data, and spatial and ethnographic materials to create a rich public history that reclaims Black contributions and history. She also explores the conscious and unconscious white actions that all but erased Black Americans--and the terror and exclusion used against them--from the history of many midwestern communities.
An innovative challenge to myth and perceived wisdom, The Geography of Hate: The Great Migration through Small-Town America (U Illinois Press, 2023) reveals the socioeconomic, political, and cultural forces that prevailed in midwestern towns and helps explain the systemic racism and endemic nativism that remain entrenched in American life.
Omari Averette-Phillips is a doctoral student in the Department of History at UC Davis. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.